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Shaxi Old Town

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Shaxi Old Town, one of the world's 101 most endangered sites listed by the World Monuments Fund is a place where you can breathe in fresh air around-the-clock.


Shaxi was a distribution center for the Tea-Horse Trade Route, and the center of Buddhist cultural activity. It was the ancient town that combine the trade and Buddhist culture together and was very famous at that time.


Shaxi is also a village with a long history that can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period (770 BC-221BC). 


Shaxi is a town with a long history. It is one of the main routes to Tea-Horse Trade. Shaxi is only an ancient town at that time, but given the active role. The exploitation of salt well that is an indispensable factor for the development of Shaxi. The ancient town was the most recent market near the salt well, so it becomes the salt capita on Tea-Horse Trade route, also becomes salt supplies distribution center for Tibet, northwest of Yunnan. As one of the necessities of people's life, salt is also another important commodity in shaxi after tea and horse trade.  Si Fang square is the soul and centre of Shaxi, is also the place where commercial transactions.


Stone Treasure Mountain (Tea-Horse Trade Routeand the Friday Market are the two most popular tourist attractions in Shaxi Town. Stone Treasure Mountain, a fantastic nature reserve and religious site that was designated as one of the first officially protected sites by China in 1982. There are numerous temples and grottoes as well as some fantastic views there. Going up to the temple there are some families of monkeys that sometimes turn very aggressive with visitors, although tourists have reported only minor injuries.


But if you have never seen what an ancient Chinese market looks like, your curiosity will be satisfied if you go to Shaxi. The Friday Market is located on the main road in Sideng. Just follow the crowd. As the last remaining market town on the ancient Tea & Horse Caravan Trail, Shaxi still hosts the local market every Friday.


The Bai ethnic people from all the villages in Shaxi Valley and the Yi people from the surrounding mountains come here to trade everything from fresh produce to supplies and horses.


Minority women dress in colorful traditional costumes, and men will often lead pack mules to carry supplies back to their mountain villages, much like in the days of the Tea & Horse Caravan.